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Deconsolidating Schools No Quick Fix, But It May Be Better Than What We Have
3/18/2015 4:30:37 PM

Elizabeth Moffly

Luther Seabrook
Staff Reports

They’re at it again so keep your pants up, retired Charleston educator Luther Seabrook cautions. The Black community risks being violated by unscrupulous attackers who would use our children to further disenfranchise it, he says.

Former Charleston County School Board member Elizabeth Moffly recently pushed county Republicans to endorse a plan to deconsolidate public schools. Seabrook said the plan seems part and partial of overall efforts to maintain an economic, educational and political stranglehold on the Black community. But any change in the public school system beats the present system, he said.

Calls to break up the district that was consolidated in 1967 have been made by various individuals and entities over the years. In 2005 Constituent District 20’s board asked the county’s legislative delegation to consider giving it autonomy citing a failure of the county board and administrators to adequately administer downtown schools. Moffly made the same argument for McClellanville Constituent District 1. She thinks five autonomous districts that share finances and resources are preferable to the current nine constituent districts governed centrally.

Seabrook said when it comes to what’s being done to serve Black students in the county, Moffly’s proposal might be advantageous. “It may not be ideal, but it’s worthy of discussion,” he said.

Seabrook, a retired educator who has worked at virtually every level of education in South Carolina and other states, is a virulent critic of CCSD which he believes has perpetuated racial segregation and the disenfranchisement of Blacks.

He points to the school district’s three Black county school board members who are elected through at-large voting in a county where Blacks comprise only one-third of the population.

Deconsolidating the district may not be a bad idea in that respect, he said. And smaller autonomous districts that control the schools within them also might be better able to facilitate racial diversity, he said.

“Some people are saying we need to fix the kids through literacy and other programs,” Seabrook said noting lagging achievement between Black students and their white counterparts, “but if we don’t fix the system, we’ll be in the same situation 20 years from now.

“Single member districts have worked better with Charleston County Council,” he said drawing a parallel with the county’s consolidated districts. I don’t know if deconsolidation is the best thing, but I know it’s better than what we have now.”

Visitor Comments

Submitted By: Kenneth Tyler Submitted: 3/25/2015
Deconsolidation is never a good thing because it would be saying what was fought for with the blood our fore father is worthless and that being equality. If it was and is difficult for minority schools to get funding then how do you think it's going to be now with the same decentralization concept all over again.

Submitted By: Henry Copeland Submitted: 6/6/2015
Always appreciate Dr. Seabrook's brutally frank and dead on observations about the local public schools.

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